Urban Meyer Unfazed By Ohio State Being an Underdog to Michigan

Urban Meyer Unfazed By Ohio State Being an Underdog to Michigan

Football

Urban Meyer Unfazed By Ohio State Being an Underdog to Michigan

It’s for everything — the Big Ten East, a chance to play in the College Football Playoff. Instead of rolling over and dying at Maryland on Saturday, Ohio State escaped, meaning that this Saturday’s matchup between the Wolverines and Buckeyes comes down to 60 minutes in Columbus.

Both Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer met with the media on Monday afternoon, and if the Buckeyes seem like they are on the ropes, the coach of the 10-1 team isn’t acting the part.

The Game this year pits the nation’s No. 2 offense against Michigan and its No. 1 rated defense — in a relatively similar matchup to 2006, when OSU had the top offense going against the nation’s best defense.

Meyer said on Monday that the Wolverines entire defense poses a challenge for the Buckeyes this Saturday.

“Whenever you face an elite team, elite defense — which they are — personnel stands out, front seven stands out,” Meyer said. “And also very good — I think they’re number one in the nation in pass defense. And just very good personnel, very well-thought out scheme and very good defense.”

For the first time since Urban Meyer took over the head coaching position in Columbus in 2012, Michigan is favored over Ohio State. The last time the maize and blue were favored (in 2011), the Wolverines were victorious over the 6-6 Buckeyes, sending OSU to a lesser-tiered bowl game under interim head coach Luke Fickell.

But Michigan hasn’t won in Columbus since 2000, and has only been favored a handful of times.

This time around, pundits act like it’s a foregone conclusion that the Wolverines will take care of business, even if it hasn’t done so in recent history. But Meyer and Ohio State aren’t paying any attention to what the press or Las Vegas is saying.

“We don’t talk about those things,” Meyer said. “We talk about how to — it’s really about (the) game — we have a saying around here: The most prepared team will win the game. It’s not who’s favored and who is not. I didn’t know that (Michigan is favored). And I don’t imagine our team really does, I guess. If they are, then they’re looking at the wrong stuff. They ought to be working on how to win an individual battle against a good team.”

Of course, with a 6-0 record against Michigan since becoming the head coach of Ohio State, Meyer has a reason to be optimistic. Michigan hasn’t been favored in any of the aforementioned contests, though was a questionable spot away from securing a berth into the Big Ten Championship with the right to play in the College Football Playoff.

Meyer doesn’t see two teams that are potentially moving in different directions. Given the nature of the Big Ten, regardless of where Michigan has been over the years, it’s a relatively even matchup, year-in and year-out, Meyer says.

“It’s our seventh one,” Meyer said. “And like you said, it’s never been, in my opinion, the talent differential. It’s always been extremely close. And also when you play Penn State, I think Michigan State’s very close. And you’ve seen it, for me to say how we play, you’ve seen it over the years. We have to do what we need to do at the time to win the game.

“And does that involve maybe more risk, more this, more that? I think it probably does. You’re probably a little more conservative when it is a team that you’re better than. But those are all — we’re going to have stuff available. It’s just how is it going during the game.”

The Game is slated to kick off at noon EST at Ohio Stadium, and will be broadcast nationally on FOX.

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